Issue: Intellectual Property
Court: U.S. Supreme Court

Term: October 2017
Oral Argument: November 27, 2017
Vote: 7 -2
Opinion: Justice Thomas
Lower Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Questions Presented:

  1. Whether inter partes review-an adversarial process used by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to analyze the validity of existing patents- violates the Constitution by extinguishing private property rights through a non-Article III forum without a jury.
  2. Whether the amendment process implemented by the PTO in inter partes review conflicts with this Court's decision in Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, and congressional direction.
  3.  Whether the "broadest reasonable interpretation" of patent claims-upheld in Cuozzo for use in inter partes review-requires the application of traditional claim construction principles, including disclaimer by disparagement of prior art and reading claims in light of the patent's specification.
RLC's Position:
The Retail Litigation Center, joined by the National Retail Federation, filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to explain that retailers are often subject to unfounded litigation brought by Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) (also known as “patent trolls”) alleging patent infringement of products and services that the retailer did not manufacture. The brief argues that inter partes review is constitutional and creates an efficient mechanism to resolve certain disputes about a patent’s validity.

Case Outcome: 
The Court held that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's inter partes review process is constitutional. 

Procedural History and Case Documents: Please use the DOWNLOAD button below to access the RLC's Brief.


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